Heartbreak and Hope: Minka Disbrow, 1960s Havens School Staffer, Reunites with Lost Child After 77 Years

If you remember Minka Disbrow from her time with the Piedmont schools, please share your memories and photos

To teachers at back in the 1960s, Minka Disbrow was the warm, wonderful manager of the school cafeteria who made special lunches for them -- and sometimes even shared her recipes.

It's likely that few, if any, of the teachers -- and certainly none of the students -- knew of the violence and heartbreak that had marred Disbrow's youth.

Raped as a teenager, Disbrow became pregnant and was sent by her family to a home for unwed mothers. There she gave birth to a blonde, dimpled daughter whom she named Betty Jane. A month later, in keeping with the times, the baby was placed for adoption.

For several years, the adoption agency provided Disbrow with updates about the welfare of the daughter she had longed to keep. Then the agency's management changed, and Disbrow heard no more -- until 2006, when she received a phone call from a grandson she didn't know she had.

His mother, now named Ruth Lee, was searching for her biological parents, the man said. The family had petitioned the court for Lee's adoption records and then located Disbrow through the Internet.

A month later, mother and daughter were reunited for the first time in 77 years.

Today, Disbrow, now 100 and living in San Clemente, remains in close touch with her daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Read the complete story and see a slideshow of photos in Huffington Post Los Angeles.

Do you have memories of of Minka Disbrow or of Havens School in the 1960s? Please share them in the comments section below, and if you have photos of those days, add them by clicking the "Upload Photos and Video" above.

Julie Drassinower January 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Interesting. I saw this story in the mainstream news yesterday. how did you find out she had worked at Havens?
Dixie Jordan January 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM
A tip from a reader who taught at Havens at the time Minka Disbrow worked there. I love readers' tips!
Linda Sande January 03, 2012 at 05:51 PM
When I started teaching at Havens Minka was working there. She did provide us with the greatest meals and always had something special for the teachers who all ate together. Later classrooms were in the old gym/lunchroom and finally the library occupied the space. It was my first teacher duty to supervise the lunch room. It was noisy, I remember!
R Rowe January 03, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I attended Havens School in the 60s and have great memories of the cafeteria. While I don't have specific memories of Ms. Disbrow, after reading this article, I'm sure she contributed to what I recall, through the lense of a 60's grammar school student, as awesome food and a fun place for kids to gather at lunch. (Ms. Sande, if you were supervising lunch during my time at Havens, I probably owe you at least one apology for overzealous lunch behavior.) Thank you for the touching story.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »